Visual Attention Tasks
To study infant attention, video recordings are made of the infants’ behavior as they are presented with a series of videos. Videos used in the Infant Learning Lab include faces, geometric shapes, and colorful toys. Behaviors studied include how long infants look at each video (look duration) and how often they look at each display (look frequency). By age 4 months, many infants voluntarily adjust look duration so that they are looking longer at videos they have never seen before. They do not, however, look more often at these novel videos. Thus, it appears that young infants are not yet using vision to track or locate where new stimuli appear on the displays. Along with shifting gaze between the two displays, infants frequently perseverate, keeping track of where they previously looked. Perseverative behavior provides structure to the infants’ visual exploration of the testing booth, enabling them to selectively attend to the stimulus novelty of the videos that appear on the two displays.
This infant is looking at animated geometric shapes. She will see the gold star 24 times presented with 24 additional or novel shapes like this purple doughnut. Music plays while the shapes rotate and spin. The picture on the right is a collage created by combining the video feed from one camera focused on the infant's face and another camera focused on the shapes being presented. This infant is currently looking at the shape on her right side. Parents see this collage when the infant is being video taped. Experiments also use the collage to code looking after the family leaves Niagara.
Infants under 9 months of age are currently needed for two studies. Learn more about participating in an NU infant attention study or see additional information about recent publications using the links above. Or contact Dr. Thompson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.